So yesterday afternoon, I was driving home from Wal-Mart with my groceries. Went looking for lingerie, came home with groceries instead. Typical. Note to self: Target for lingerie, Wal-Mart for groceries.
Driving down a road that should have a 50 mph speed limit, I was going somewhere around 40-ish. I wasn’t really paying attention to my speed until I saw a police car parked next to a canal bridge, the nose of the car pointing right out to the street, which meant the officer must be lying in wait for speeders. I tapped my brakes slightly and then looked down at my speedometer. 37-ish. Which means I was probably going faster than that since I hit my brakes and then looked at the speedometer, duh, but that fact didn’t register with me until I was on my way home later. But 37-ish. Then I looked up for speed limit signs. THIRTY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IT’S A FOUR-WIDE-LANES ROAD! By this time I was passing the police car, so I didn’t hit my brakes any more, I just took my foot off the gas pedal until I got down to 35. I’m not one of those dufuses who sees a cop and starts going at or under the speed limit. I’ve had too many cops pass me for going too slow, so I stopped that madness long ago. I’ll go 5mph over if I’m being stalked by the brass. (I love calling it that. The brass. I got that from CSI. And y’all nodded your heads, because you watch CSI, too.) So I slowed and kept eating my Doritos (I was hungry and had eaten only two Larabars for lunch, so the Fiery Habanero Doritos didn’t make it out of the Wal-Mart parking lot), watching in the rearview mirror for the police stalker.
Aaaaaaand the police car turned onto the street from its parking spot next to the bridge and started following me. Fantastic. I kept looking at my speedometer, still hovering at 35-ish, and I was still not going to slow to 30, because any cop who will pull you over for going 35 will also pull you over for going 30 and is a complete jerkface. And I kept watching the rearview mirror. And the lights went on, and I pulled over onto a side street. Lovely.
I put the Doritos in the passenger floorboard so I wouldn’t look like a total pig. Who eats Doritos in the car? Out of the big bag? Or for breakfast at 8:30, for that matter? Not that I did that today. Ahem. I also took a look around to make sure everything was in order. Straightened my water bottle in the water bottle holder. Put the car in park. Turned off the car. Thought about how a ticket is not in our budget. But whatever, I like cops, they’re not paid enough, insert usual pleasantries here.
I was watching in the rearview mirror when the officer got out of her car. Ah lousy luck, she’s a girl. I say that, but the two previous times I’ve been pulled over by girl cops, I’ve not gotten tickets.
She got to the door and knocked on my window. From this point forward, my thoughts that were only in my head will be in italics. If it’s not in italics, I actually said it out loud.
SARAHK: I have to open the door.
GIRL COP: Ok. Your window doesn’t work?
GIRL COP: Well, I pulled you over for going 41 in a 30.
SARAHK: Nuh-uh! Oh. My thing said 37, but that’s still speeding, so… ok. I was speeding. If you’re being technical.
GIRL COP [looking at me a little askance, not sure if I'm being ornery, which I'm not -- out loud]: I… probably clocked you before you saw me.
SARAHK [looking straight ahead, mouth closed]: I’m just gonna shut up now.
GIRL COP [glancing into the back seat]: Just coming home from the grocery store?
SARAHK: Oh. Yes. Would you like a bag of Doritos, officer? A nice red pear? Why is she asking about my groceries? Maybe she’s letting me know that she realizes I don’t want to sit with my frozen food for too long? It’s a friendly gesture? What? Or she notices I can’t afford to fix my car window and I shop at Wal-Mart for groceries? So I can’t afford a ticket? I hope she’s focused on that, because a ticket is not in the budget. Colonoscopy Friday has taken all the padding out of the budget this week.
GIRL COP: Can I see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance?
SARAHK: Sure. Ok, purse. Opening driver’s license pocket. No gun there. Here’s my driver’s license. Glove box, no gun there, ok to open that. Here’s my registration. Opening driver’s license pocket of purse again… looking for insurance card… I know my insurance card is in here somewhere.
GIRL COP: Do you also have a cracked windshield? How long have you had that?
SARAHK [looking at the windshield, then her, then grinning]: Um… well… a rock hit it quite some time ago and it’s just been…
GIRL COP: You know, if you have insurance, full coverage, the insurance company will pay twice a year to replace your windshield.
SARAHK:Yes, well I dropped the comp coverage on my car a few months back… Oh, um, is it… illegal to drive with a cracked windshield?
GIRL COP [grinning!]: Yes. Plus it’s unsafe. If something hit you, then…
SARAHK: Yeah. [I made the motion of my head getting chopped off and thought about the big black semi that almost hit me on 2/26/2007.]
GIRL COP: Exactly.
SARAHK: Oh! Here’s the insurance card. [I handed her the card and then realized it was the one that starts in a few weeks right after I handed it to her.] Oh. I think I gave you the wrong card. [Looking for the current card...]
GIRL COP: Yes, this one isn’t effective yet and is for a Hyundai.
SARAHK: It doesn’t have both cars? I thought all the cards had both cars on there. [Now frantically looking for the current card.] Oh. Maybe the current card is in the other pocket. With my gun. Eek!
GIRL COP: I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m not going to give you a ticket for the speeding.
SARAHK: Thank you.
GIRL COP: But the insurance…
SARAHK: Actually, I might have the current card in this pocket of my purse. But there’s a gun in there.
GIRL COP: Okay…
SARAHK: So… I just didn’t want you to think I was pulling a gun on you if I open the pocket.
GIRL COP: Yeah, that would be good information to have. You probably should have told me you had that.
SARAHK: Well, it’s not your business, officer. I’m a law abiding citizen, I have a permit for it, I’m not going to use it on you, and unless there’s a chance you’re going to see it and think I’m possibly attacking you, I have no reason nor requirement to tell you about it. Oh. Well, I know I’m not required to tell you about it, so… [Note: I said this very politely and sheepishly. But my thoughts were not polite and sheepish.]
GIRL COP: Uh… Ok, well, go ahead and open the pocket, but don’t pull the gun out, ok? Is this the only gun you have in the car?
SARAHK: Ok. Yes, it is.
GIRL COP: I’m going to take the gun out and away, and then you can find your card. And then when we’re all done, I’ll give it back to you. Ok?
SARAHK: As long as you use proper gun safety, officer. Mmmhmm.
BTW, she looked nervous now. Like I was a shifty criminal. I mean, I did tell her about the gun. Maybe she thought it was booby-trapped. But it’s a revolver, a double-action one that was not cocked if she looked at the hammer. She was still friendly, though. I find that the girl cops in our town are (that’s twice I’ve been pulled over by girl cops in our town, and twice they’ve been very friendly, so statistically that’s 100%). She took the gun out of my purse and held onto it, pointing it down at the pavement.
SARAHK: I have a permit for that, by the way. Why is she not asking for my permit? The gun isn’t just in my car. It’s in my purse. I guess technically it’s in my car, I wasn’t carrying it outside the car, but it’s not in a separate, locked compartment in the car. It’s in a purse. I’m pretty sure I need a permit to have it like that. Why doesn’t she want my permit? Do you want to see it? Why am I volunteering stuff? Sarah, just shut up. She’ll ask for whatever she wants. Yep, here’s the insurance card. I thought there was a chance it might be in this pocket, but I didn’t want to open it, because I didn’t want you to think I was pulling a gun on you or something. Oh, just stop with the nervous talking thing, SarahK.
I handed her the insurance card, she said yes to the permit.
GIRL COP: Ok, I’m going to go back to my car, run your license and the serial number on the gun, and I’ll be back in a minute.
SARAHK: Ok. Where are you taking my precious Pop-Pop? I gave it to you so I wasn’t holding it while I was digging around it in my purse. I didn’t say you could have it.
GIRL COP: None of the windows roll down?
SARAHK: The passenger windows do, just the driver side window is broken.
GIRL COP: Ok, you can roll down the passenger window and I’ll come back on that side. That way you don’t have to sit here with your door open.
SARAHK: Ok, thanks. Especially since we’re on this unknown street in a semi-sketchy neighborhood, and you just took my gun away.
Girl Cop went away for a while, and I sat, sat, sat… Girl Cop finally came back, passenger side.
GIRL COP: Ok, here’s your license, registration, insurance back.
SARAHK: Thanks. Where’s my Pop-Pop? There it is. I see it. The finish had better not be marred! ;-)
GIRL COP: Ok, I’m going to put this on the floorboard here, and after I clear you, you can pick it up and put it back in your purse. Are you law enforcement?
Am I law enforcement? Don’t you think I would have mentioned that? I guess not if I was undercover or something, but why the question? I wonder if she asked that because I didn’t volunteer the fact that I had a weapon? Before I took my concealed carry class, I had always heard from my Texas carrying friends that if you’re pulled over, you present your driver’s license and your concealed weapons permit to the officer. But when I took my class, the instructor, who was excellent, told us that it is not a requirement to tell an officer in a routine traffic stop if you have a weapon. And the Florida Statutes just state that you have to present your license to the officer if the officer demands to see it (so I was being nice when I volunteered my permit):
The licensee must carry the license, together with valid identification, at all times in which the licensee is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or firearm and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.
– F.S. 790.06 (1)
GIRL COP: Ok, well in the future, we need to know. Because if we’re sitting there with someone with a loaded firearm, that’s information we need to have. [Still friendly.]
SARAHK: Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry, I should have told you up front. Not your business. You only need to know that I have a gun if I’m planning to use it on you or have a mental condition that would cause me to snap and start waving it in your face for no reason, such as having PMS. ;-) So what’s the problem. If I were a criminal, my telling you about the gun wouldn’t help you anyway, because I would probably tell you about it when I was about to try to use it on you. I only told you just now for my own protection, not yours. My telling you only helps you to know that a law-abiding citizen who is not planning to harm you is carrying a weapon. I just didn’t think about it until I was looking for the insurance card. Which is true.
GIRL COP: No problem. Take care. Slow down driving home.
SARAHK: Ok. Sorry about that. The fast driving, not the concealing of the gun. It’s not your business. I shouldn’t even be required to have a permit to carry one. But that’s another blog post about inalienable rights.
She was nice, though, so when I was thinking in italics in my head, I wasn’t thinking with my acidic sarcastic tone. I was using my polite sarcastic debate tone. So if y’all read that in the acid tone, you need to go back and read it again.
When I called Frank on the way home, driving 35-ish, I told him I can’t wait for him to draw a comic of the incident. :-D